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Women in Information Technology

Svea Hieb MATC Student

Milwaukee Area Technical College student Svea Hieb (Photo property/courtesy of MATC.)

Nationally, average salaries in Information Technology (IT) fields pay 1.5 times more than the average private sector job. Within Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) service area, Computer Support Specialists earn $22.56 an hour, and these careers are expected to show rapid growth during the next decade. At this time, the majority of people employed in IT jobs are men.

One way for women to increase their earnings is to enter a field that is considered non-traditional for women. “Just because you’re a girl, it doesn’t mean you can’t do those things,” Svea Hieb brags. Hieb is a 2015 graduate of the MATC IT Computer Support Specialist Program.

Brandi Burnet and Ocie Buckner are two other women who pursued a non-traditional occupation (NTO). Burnet and Buckner also became participants of the Women in Technology (WIT) Center at MATC. Along with other WIT Center participants they organized the MATC Women in Technology Club. The main goal of the center is to help retain students in NTO programs, specifically women. An Information Systems Security Specialist Associate Degree graduate and president of the Women in Technology Club, Buckner tells us, “There are lots of women at MATC from the inner city who don’t know what college is like. They don’t have friends in similar situations. If they come to the center, they can talk about their challenges and get support.” Both Burnett and Buckner credit the WIT Center with helping them complete their programs.
MATC__spark_2cTrade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grants are intended to help workers who have lost their jobs due to companies moving their workforce out of the country, workers who have lost employment due to company closure, returning Veterans and other adults in need of short-term training to return to work. Women compose 11% of the dislocated workers served by the grant. Currently, 22% of MATC’s TAACCCT funded INTERFACE Project enrollments in the IT Support field are women.

In March of 2016, President Obama and the White House designated Milwaukee as a TechHire Community. TechHire is a multi-sector initiative designed to empower Americans by providing resources and opportunities to learn the skills necessary to work in the computer science and information technology fields. Many IT jobs can be found in industries that are not usually associated with IT including energy, financial services, health care, manufacturing, retail, transportation and local government agencies. According to an announcement from Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee’s TechHire goal is to train 500 individuals for tech jobs and place 600 people into employment in tech occupations by the end of 2020.

MATC has created educational pathways leading to quality, family-sustaining IT jobs that meet the needs of area employers. These pathways also include articulation agreements with area universities for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree. A robust collaboration with community partnerships has been pivotal in helping to recruit, retain and find employment for students within Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

Training through the INTERFACE Project at MATC began in June 2014 and will run through March 2017. For more information about INTERFACE, IT Pathway Certificates or the IT Computer Support Program, contact Carriel Danz, Project Coordinator, at danzc@matc.edu or 414.297.6571. You can also visit the dedicated program website.

For more information about nontraditional occupations at MATC, click here.

Visit the Information Technology MATC Facebook page.

Read more about The White House’s TechHire Initiative.

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